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Federal Warsaw Incline’s “Rock of Ages” Will Rock You Back to the 80s

Review by Mary Kate Groh of “Rock of Ages”: Incline Theatre

If you are in the mood for a lively and exhilarating night of big hair, sexy costumes, and loud music, Federal Warsaw Incline’s “Rock of Ages” is the show to see. Written by American playwright, Chris D’Arienzo, “Rock of Ages” is a hilarious jukebox musical that leaves audience members nostalgic for the 1980s glam and rock, featuring songs from famous metal bands such as Styx, Journey, Foreigner, Bon Jovi, and Twisted Sister among other very well-known bands of the era.  

Set in the mid-1980s, “Rock of Ages” is the story of a smalltown girl, Sherri Christian (Tina Dealdertete) who moves to Hollywood with big dreams of becoming an actress. She meets Drew (Robert Breslin IV) who gets her a waitress job at the popular Bourbon Room and struggles to get out of the friendzone with her throughout the show. Meanwhile, a pair of German developers come to Sunset Blvd to try and persuade the mayor to clean up the city by demolishing the “sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll” influences of the city, including the legendary Bourbon Room. The show is narrated by the witty and scene-stealing Lonny (Chris Logan Carter) who kept the audience rolling with laughter with his excellent comedic timing and humorous facial expressions. 

Choreographer Jule Shumate did an excellent job of nailing the dance numbers with the ensemble of actors. Each dance number left me awestruck with the incredible choreography. Costume Designer Caren Brady perfectly captured the fashion of the 1980s with the untamed hair, flamboyant makeup, fishnet tights, and tight mini skirts. Set Designer Brett Bowling produced a flexible set that featured the Bourbon Room which served as an actual bar before the show. The simple trash can set-piece was probably my favorite part of the stage design. The rock band that served as both the on-stage pit and minor characters in the show made the stage seem a little crowded and sometimes overpowered the singers during some of the production numbers. 

I went into this show with an open mind because I honestly didn’t know what to expect. All during the production, I was jamming in my seat to the rocking 1980s songs, roaring with laughter at the countless innuendo and jokes, and wishing I lived during the era of leg warmers and Pat Benetar. “Rock of Ages” is a vibrant and rambunctious musical that shouldn’t be missed if you are just looking to have a fun couple of hours. “Rock of Ages” is playing at the Federal Warsaw Incline until October 13. Tickets can be purchased online or by calling (513) 241-6550.